It’s rare that I look forward to something, but the season premier of Mr. Robot is tonight, in an hour. As much as it is about hacking, and the darkness that we face in the world, for me it was about the main character, Elliot, and his battle with mental health.
Rami Malek does an amazing portrayal of a person who suffers from Social Anxiety and Depression. I can say this because throughout much of my twenties and even into my thirties I lived like Elliot. I went through the motions of life without living. I Kept to myself. I was afraid of those around me and leaving my house. Two weeks ago a friend said that I live a lot in my head, she’s right. For me it is easier to live in my head than to live in reality.
Mr. Robot draws a realistic line between reality and art. For much of my life, when I leave my home, I wear a hoodie, like Elliot does, drawn over a hat on my head, and headphones in my ears blaring loud music. I distance myself. We’ve talked a lot about me pushing other people away, what people don’t know is why. I push away because I’m scared of people hurting me as much as I am scared of hurting other people.
I like the sadness that you see portrayed in the character as well. You can see it in how Elliot interacts with his world, work, friends, and life. How he tries to mask his depression and anxiety with drugs, and hacking into other people’s lives. Most of us suffering from Mental Health do the same thing, in my twenties it was alcohol. In my thirties it has been pain.
One way or another we all suffer from addictions, in fact, my counselor and I have discussed addiction, especially the one of self abuse and destruction, on numerous occasions. I masked my condition with addiction because I did not want to deal with real symptoms that determined my life. Again, living in my own world was easier than living in reality.
That’s not to say there isn’t a great deal that we can learn from Mr. Robot. Our penitence for a false sense of online security, hacking, and rising up against corporations and government. Others write amazingly about online security and culture. One blog I want to share with everyone is The Cryptosphere run by Lorraine Murphy, a good friend who has done a great job over the past few years covering cyber security. When you watch Mr. Robot watch for both, how Elliot deals with depression and the undercurrent of the lack of security that we have as a society.